Sony pays $250m for stake in Fortnite developer Epic Games
Sony Corporation, the Japanese multinational conglomerate, has bought a stake worth $250 million in US game developer Epic Games, creator of the popular Fortnite title.
Sony has acquired a holding of about 1.4 per cent.
The shoot-em-up title is one of the leading esports games, and although this year's Fortnite World Cup was cancelled as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, the 2019 edition held in New York had a total prize pool of $40 million and drew 2 million concurrent viewers.
In a statement, Sony said: “The investment cements an already close relationship between the two companies and reinforces the shared mission to advance the state of the art in technology, entertainment, and socially-connected online services.
“The investment allows Sony and Epic to aim to broaden their collaboration across Sony’s leading portfolio of entertainment assets and technology, and Epic’s social entertainment platform and digital ecosystem to create unique experiences for consumers and creators.”
The deal follows the virtual concert tour of US rapper Travis Scott, signed to Sony-owned Epic Records, which was held inside the virtual Fortnite world in April.
The companies also recently collaborated on a trailer debuting Epic Games’ Unreal Engine 5 game for Sony’s soon-to-be-launched PlayStation 5 console, which highlighted the capabilities of next-generation development.
Through the new investment, Sony joins Chinese digital platform Tencent, which owns 40 per cent of Epic Games via a $330 million investment it made in 2012.
Kenichiro Yoshida, Sony president and chief executive, said: “Epic’s powerful technology in areas such as graphics places them at the forefront of game engine development with Unreal Engine and other innovations.
“Through our investment, we will explore opportunities for further collaboration with Epic to delight and bring value to consumers and the industry at large, not only in games, but also across the rapidly evolving digital entertainment landscape.”
In April, Sony invested $400 million for a minority stake in Chinese online video and mobile games group Bilibili.